Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stars & the Apeman and Sun for the Moonbats

Bonus Saturday post, picking up from yesterday:

All of us are of the stars, but some of us are looking at the gutter. --Petey

Tomberg writes that the fourth day of creation -- which gives us the various heavenly bodies that populate the upper vertical -- implies "an all-embracing world rhythm" which affects all beings, and which unites them in a transcendent cosmic community.

It truly is one cosmos, in that everything interpenetrates and is connected to everything else. Nothing is radically separate, even though everything is distinct. Nothing whatsoever could be if it did not orthoparadoxically share both of these features, distinction and unity. Like the human body, the cosmos is not just one and many, but one because many, and vice versa. Everything is brought to us by our nonlocal sponsor, the One.

Tomberg compares this to the mystery of human subjectivity, the main feature of which is transcendent unity and wholeness -- science knows not how -- despite being "constituted," so to speak, of numberless impulses, memories, plans, whims, fantasies, dreams, desires, moods, etc. -- not to mention billions of individual neuronal connections. Despite the infinite complexity, subjectivity "orders itself around a central point -- the self -- which represents the center of gravity of soul life, i.e., the permanency of the identity of the personality."

Thus, the human being is always one and many, which is fine, so long as there is a preponderance of coherence around the one. When the self becomes too dis-integrated, and parts begin to spin off into their own orbits with their own centers of influence, that is when psychotherapy (or something analogous) is indicated. We should always be on the way toward integration and unity, even if we can never arrive there this side of the manifestivus.

The self -- at least a healthy self -- does not merely spin around an interior axis. Rather, aided by "the light of Reason" (understood in its integral, not merely rationalistic sense) and by transcendent ideals, this center of subjectivity can undergo increased order and evolve in the direction of one's highest aspiration, toward the true cosmic center of which we are a distant and middling relativity -- we are the "center at the periphery," as Schuon has called it, the true center being the nonlocal, space-pervading spirit of I AM.

Speaking of the rhythm of being -- days, seasons, years, etc. -- for Schuon, all natural phenomena are here to convey deeper lessons to us. Thus, for example, our lives are not just divided into day and night, but into seasons: the childhood spring of "formation and learning"; the mature summer of "actual and effective realization"; the late-middle age autumn of "consolidation, reparation, and the directing of others"; and the old age winter of "detachment and transcendence."

Alternatively, one could say that childhood is "the paradise of innocence," youth "the time of the passions," maturity "the time of work," and old age "that of sadness" -- at least for the horizontal man. For the vertical man, "the opposite takes place: age is an ascent towards another world." Extremes meet, as paradise comes into view (hence the resonance between grandparents and grandchildren, who are on the same page, i.e., pages 266→007 of the cosmic maryOground).

For Tomberg, the fourth day of creation is ultimately the divine-cosmic archetype of holy communion, or the vertical recollection of the a priori unity that embraces and subtends all beings in the world.

As such, the fourth miracle of John -- the feeding of the 5,000 -- "is the corresponding healing work of the Word-made-flesh." For as the central sun "nourishes" and unifies all beings, so too Jesus ("sitting on a mountain") functions as the "nourishment-giving center" for the multitude below. It is as if he "speeds up" the time it takes for the sun to produce bread -- planting, sprouting, growth, ripening, harvesting, etc. -- multiplying it in the same way the sun multiplies the small amount of wheat or corn that is planted (all life involves transformations of the same energy emanating from the central sun).

Interestingly, Jesus does not distribute the bread and fish directly, but through the mediating principle or "reflected light" of the disciples. Tomberg suggests that this is a mercy, for the direct light would be so shattering an experience that one would be temporarily blinded, like Paul on the road to Damascus.

This also speaks to the hierarchical structure of the world, which is not simply bipolar (i.e., creator and created, God and man, heaven and earth), but has degrees of being. Each level of the hierarchy is a moon to the level above but a relative sun to the level below. Better men than I can withstand the direct rays of the sun. For now, it is enough to stand in the reflected light of certain nonlocal operators who illuminate the path.

We must never forget that an unreflective spirit of democracy will usually end in an inhuman horizontalocrazy in the absence of hierarchy. In reality, there is no ordered wholeness without hierarchy and no hierarchy without a top and bottom.

But as Richard Weaver writes in Ideas Have Consequences, forms are the ladder of ascent: "Every group regarding itself as emancipated is convinced its predecessors were fearful of reality, looking upon veils of decency as obstructions that it will strip aside. But behind the veils is a reality of such commonplace that it is merely knowledge of death." The "taking away of degree" creates a tyrannical flatland which is death to the soul and its spiritual evolution toward integration and actualization. This is why leftists are always mindlessly rebellious, anti-authority, and radically "democratic" (when it is convenient).

If the raw stuff of life is precisely "what the civilized man desires to have refined," we shouldn't be at all surprised that in these leftist-dominated times we find ourselves swimming in it -- or that websites such as the dailykurse or huffingandpissed propagate political raw sewage (as in yesterday's post), precisely. Indeed, this crass warfare is one of the things that makes these snivelized whiners so repulsive. (Nor should anyone be surprised that there is exactly 18 times more pre-articulate profanity on leftist websites.)

Weaver points out that the loss of transcendentals also brings with it the loss of heroes. Like living works of art, heroes are in the world but point beyond it, to a higher principle that animates and shines through them. Without them, we are loused in space and moroned in time. We're just here and now, with no one to fly the planes up, out, or in for a promised landing.

In reality, the contemporary left has no real heroes, merely victims and their "heroic" enablers. Making the victim the hero is to overturn the ontological order of the cosmos, precisely. It is not merely to annihilate hierarchy but to substitute a reverse hierarchy -- which ends in a "race to the bottom" for superior victim status. (I might add that this is a true perversion of "the meek shall inherit the earth, which is why leftism specifically developed in a Judeo-Christian context -- as its shadow, as it were.)

A spiritual practice should be a force multiplier, in the same way that Jesus multiplied the bread and fish. Each of us can be an effective source of light below, but only if we are reflections of the true light above.

Tomberg concludes: "There thus arises a wonderful picture out of a deeper consideration of the miracle of the feeding of 5,000: in the center, high up on a mountain, Jesus Christ, as the shining and life-giving sun; then the circle of disciples as the silver moon; and round about the mountain a swarm of thousands of stars -- the people."

Alternatively, we can have a horizontal, farce-multiplying swarm ruled by its elite masters. But who will feed the endlessly multiplying victims? I mean, now that their masters have run out of other peoples' money?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Come for the Social Justice, Stay for the Omnipotent State

As the fifth act of creation involves the descent of ensouled movement into the world (discussed yesterday), the fourth act involves the creation of the archetypes -- just as the blueprint is prior to the building, genotype to phenotype, or logos (intelligent form) to substance.

Tomberg compares it to a symphony orchestra in which no one person has the entire score, but each member has his own instrument and his own part to play, in order to harmonize with the whole musical existentialada.

As such, the fourth day of creation "is that of the coming into being of those principles which direct 'time and tempo'" -- the creation of the sun, the moon, and the stars in order to separate night from day, to provide light to the earth, and to serve generally as cosmic designposts: "signs and seasons, days and years." Tomberg asks, "What are these other than organs of direction, i.e., conductors of time and tempo for the world-orchestra, in accordance with the music-score of the stars?"

One might say that the sun illuminates space, while the moon and other heavenly bodies mark time, providing its primordial rhythmicity. (Although in another sense, the roles can be reversed, in that the moon rules the space of night, or the unconscious, just as the sun corresponds with the conscious self.)

Note as well that separation must precede order, something which is very much emphasized in Judaism. We revert to the chaos that preceded the creation if, for example, we ignore the distinction between the sexes -- which is one of the inevitable cosmic horrors of radical feminism, the homosexual agenda, or of left wing egalitarianism in general, which is always at war with discrimination (and the ability to discriminate vertically is what makes us human).

Looked at another way, the fourth day involves the enunciation of the principial world, which is anterior to creation in the same way that our personal essence is prior to existence (again, unless you are a Marxist/existentialist).

In fact, this is perhaps the central idea (appropriate that the four is midway between the one and seven) that separates the believer from the pagan and liberal from leftist, for the secular leftist inverts the divine order and insists that existence is prior to essence. Having denied his own essential blueprint, he is a cosmic orphan reduced to, and determined by, mere chance and superficial contingencies such as race, class, and gender (i.e., sex as social construct as opposed to principial archetype).

This is why leftism is 180 degrees from liberalism, and why leftism is unthinkable in the absence of this inappropriate obsession with horizontal accidents. Once you acknowledge a true self -- which is to say a created self, or a unique ontological center of personal autonomy -- you can no longer call yourself a leftist.

Thus, it is no surprise that we see the New York Times trumpeting the scientifically "sophisticated" but otherwise terribly unsophisticated idea that human beings do not possess free will. For if human beings do possess free will, then nearly the whole ghastly project of leftism crumbles in a heap. The absurdity of the free will deniers becomes clear if expressed explicitly, as in this piece at American Thinker:

"We here at The New York Times want to announce a new policy. This is that we will no longer criticize anyone, nor praise anyone. We will, in other words, hold no one responsible for his or her conduct.

"We institute this policy in light of the columns published recently in our pages arguing that human beings have no free will, that they cannot choose their own conduct. If this is so, as we believe it is -- we haven't published anyone arguing the opposite thesis, as you may have noticed -- there can be no choice about what people do. Neither Saddam Hussein, nor George W. Bush, nor Nancy Pelosi nor indeed anyone at all has anything to do with his or her conduct or, as social scientists prefer to call it, behavior."

In short, if there is no free will, then obviously there can be no morality, let alone a judicial system, for we are merely condemned to do what we do in a mechanistic way, and it makes no sense to punish a machine. Conversely, once one acknowledges that man possesses free will, and that he may (and must) recognize and choose between good and evil (or truth and falsehood), then one has left any form of leftism behind.

The Times quotes one "expert" who is apparently compelled (for he is not free) to say that free will is merely "a perception, not a power or a driving force. People experience free will. They have the sense they are free," but "the more you scrutinize it, the more you realize you don't have it."

Hmmm.... if we are not free to scrutinize it, how could we ever know that it is true that we don't have free will? Here we see how there is no truth in the absence of free will, which is why the left ends up denying both freedom and reality (for truth coincides with the Real). To turn it around, if truth exists, so too does free will. Truth is the ultimate guarantor of liberty, and vice versa. Attack one and you maim the other.

One of our guiding stars in the principial firmament above is justice. This is as good an example as any of a "greater light" that allows us to navigate by day, as it illuminates the moral space we inhabit. That is, human beings possess an innate sense of justice -- not just this or that justice, but justice as such.

What is so ironic is that the leftist too lives by this light, but at the same time, denies its reality above and therefore its possibility below. This is why leftist theologies literally turn the cosmos upside down (speaking ontologically) and transmogrify transcendent justice into some version of "social justice" or "liberation" theology.

Equally ironically -- and this is key -- "social justice" is always an excuse for unlimited state power, since, if you try to understand what the leftist means by the term, you soon realize that it is imbued with omnipotence. (This is ably trissected in Thomas Sowell's foundational A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, The Quest for Cosmic Justice, and The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.)

In short, in order to impose one's idea of unlimited justice, one must have unlimited power. Whenever a leftist says "justice," reach for your blowtorch.

If no one is free and therefore nothing is moral, religion merely becomes the will to power, even -- or especially -- when it is dressed up in the language of social justice, entitlement, and "human rights," instead of the negative civil liberties of classical liberalism. For civil rights are here to protect liberty, whereas so-called "human rights" are here to deny liberty through state power -- which always ends up being a great injustice from the standpoint of heaven, since it imposes the same law on the lion and lamb, so we are all treated like sheep. First they steal our wool, then they pull it over our eyes.

Here is a typical voice from the abyss at huffingandpissed. He agrees that reality is not what it appears to be, and that there is a "hidden blueprint," so to speak, ruling over us. Yes, his opinions are obviously "crazy" -- that goes without saying -- but crazy does not mean random. Rather, one of the axioms of psychoanalysis is that craziness is merely order by another name. In other words, in order to heal the craziness, we must help the patient uncover the deep structure -- the implicate "lesser lights" of his night time unconscious -- that underlie the surface disorder:

"Every 'advanced' society exists as a parasite in those less 'advanced,' and that can be proven empirically and decisively. Bush is not responsible for the war in Iraq.... Civilization cannot exist in the absence of war, because civilization is itself inherently exploitative.... that is why we'll have more and more of it, and why it will eventually percolate from the peripheries populated by Dark Others into our suburbs. [How can there be "Dark Others" if war is inherent? -- ed.]

"Everything we have that we list in our catalogue of civilization is forged out of fraud, theft, and murder.... Show me the exception, and I'll take it back. [Since he is not an exception, he is a liar and a thief, so why should we believe, much less trust, him? -- ed.]

"The fine woods and metals and animal guts that make the orchestras, the stones and steel and trees for our libraries..., and the food displayed strategically along our supermarket shelves... they all require war. They are taken from cultures who first refuse to cooperate, then who are forced to cooperate or be depopulated. [In that case, we have to stop the world from stealing all of the food we produce here in the United States. -- ed.]

"The expansive and expanding heaps of... of asphalt and glass and plastic and paint and shiny right-angles -- are scraped out of hillsides and coastlines, with the corpses of biomes and simpler cultures left behind as the mizzens of this wretched thing called civilization.... Technology is driven by scarcity, and scarcity by pillage.... This is not a mark of superiority, but the cascading catastrophe of power seeking the enslavement of first women, then slaves and colonies and nature..." [But given your conception of man, wouldn't these women and other primitives just enslave and colonize white men if they could? -- ed.]


Oh my. Imagine this fascist being in charge of your homeowners association, much less the wheels of government.

Here is a quite literal example of "justice gone mad," for when we reject the greater light of divine justice, we are left with mere animal justice, which is no justice at all. I am always surprised at the inherent irony of secular progressives calling themselves "humanists." For one thing, to deny God is to prevent man, pure and simple.

Secondly, have you ever read a more quintessentially anti-human diatribe? If human beings are what this or any other progressive says they are, then why would we ever trust progressive statists to set things right? If human beings are power-mad monsters of depravity, the last thing we want to do is give them more power over us, because they will treat us as such.

No one is responsible for anything, but somehow its our fault, otherwise this person wouldn't be ranting about his sense of cosmic injustice. But where does he get his grandiose sense of injustice, since it doesn't come from above, and he's a depraved human animal just like everyone else? From whence does it come if we are only self-interested monkeys who will commit any crime to get what we want? Indeed if we -- that is to say, civilization -- are a crime against man and nature?

End of part one.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

This is Your Captain Speaking: Return Your Seat of Consciousness to its Upright Position

For those who haven't been keeping up with the program, we've been exploring the inner resonance between the seven divine acts of creation and the seven miracles -- or signs -- recorded in the Gospel of John (miracles are neither here nor there if they don't convey a deeper truth). We're up to the third miracle, which must relate to the fifth day of creation.

God's activity on the fifth day is rather intriguing, even for Him. First, he fills the waters below with fish and the sky above with birds that fly "across the face of heaven's firmament." He creates "everything that moves" according to a divine archetype (its seed idea), but purposely holds back a bit, in that he doesn't fill the earth to capacity. Rather, he reserves a degree of creativity for the world, and blesses its creatures with the generative activity through which they may "be fruitful and multiply."

Current scientific evidence suggests that the fifth act of creation occurred 3.85 billion years ago, when the cosmos suddenly exited its closed circle of material existence and became filled with "an abundance of creatures" -- a sphere of life. As for how this miracle occurred, scientists have no idea. They can only say that life is just a side effect of deterministic material processes or that it was a case of outlandishly good luck. Or bad luck if you are an existentialist.

How does one "disprove" that God created life on the fifth day? To even ask the question is to have missed the point, the point being to meditate upon the deeper meaning of the statement. In order to do that, we must examine its entire context, as well as the general metaphysical view that is developed and promulgated in Genesis.

And if one is a Christian, one must analyze it teleologically in light of the full revelation, since the Old Testament points to (or in philosophical terms, "entails") the New, while the New Testament illuminates the Old.

In other words, the Old and New Testaments must be distinct and yet continuous, so that the two actually entail each other (just as the man is in the child and vice versa). The correspondence of miracles is just one of a multitude of ways to expand upon this dialectical resonance between Old and New Testaments.

In general, as Tomberg points out, the ingression of life into the cosmos represents the presence of "ensouled movement" in the world. The specific reference to fish and birds implies hierarchy and verticality: creatures above and creatures below the plane where man is situated. There are beings who skirt along the firmament above -- the supramental, archetypal, or angelic membrane between God and world -- as well as those who dwell in the dark waters below -- the unconscious or inconscient. As if we didn't know.

Now, the third miracle recorded in the Gospel of John involves an incident in Jerusalem, when Jesus comes across a multitude of sick people who are blind, lame, and paralyzed, and who lay by a pool of water (Bethesda) that has five porches. The water is still, but every so often a vertical being descends and "stirs the water," and whoever is first in thereafter is healed of his affliction.

Since life is ensouled movement, the implication is that paralysis symbolically represents an absence of life, while the still water suggests an absence of healing power. Life is the quintessence of ordered flow.

Jesus encounters a certain man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. The man's condition is entirely static, since his paralysis prevents him from entering the water at the opportune moment. Jesus proceeds to restore the man's "faculty of ensouled movement," but it doesn't happen as a result of any random "stirring of the waters."

Rather, it occurs after Jesus says to him, Rise, take up your bed and walk. According to Tomberg, the words "rise" and "take up your bed" refer back to the fifth day of creation, "namely the creation of ensouled movement in the vertical ['rise up'] and in the horizontal ['walk']" (one might also say transcendence and immanence).

Now, willed movement ("ensouled life") is cosmic in its significance, as I argued in Biogenesis. Tomberg elaborates: "the human being stands within a stream of cosmic energies -- his thoughts in the streams of the thought world, his feelings in the streams of the world's psychic forces, and his impulses of will are immersed in the streams of world-will-energy and are 'plugged into' them."

Therefore, just as someone "who holds his breath and takes in no more air will suffocate, so will someone who cuts himself off from the streams of cosmic energies become paralyzed." It is specifically this "cutting off," or self-willed vertical exile, that represents the quintessence of sin, which is why Jesus later encounters the man in the temple and admonishes him, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you," pal.

What is specifically denied the atheist -- not by God, of course, but by himself -- is robust vertical movement, or O-robic verticalisthenics. He is a vertical paraplegic, so that he can neither rise nor walk, only crawl and slither about in the faculty lounge. He omnipotently reverses the fifth day of creation and encloses himself in a horizontal prison, where flight is impossible (nor are such proud rationalists generally aware of the infraconscious realm below, so they become only more susceptible to its influence).

The third miracle -- and it is a miracle -- is a restoration of the higher life from its state of spiritual paralysis, or sin. As such, this miracle is the archetype of repentance or metanoia, through which one consciously "turns around" and reconnects with man's proper habitat, the vertical. Instead of laying around waiting for a miracle, we understand that the miracle has already occurred, and that our paralysis is self-willed, self-enclosed, and self-perpetuating.

But we cannot undo the paralysis with our own will only. Rather, we can only willfully participate in the saving miracle.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Miracle of Paternal Cosmosis

"Heredity" means simply the transmission of similarity from ancestors to their descendents. In this sense, the invisibly divinely created archetypes are the "ancestors" of the visible species of animals. And the invisible archetype of man, the divine being itself, is the "ancestor" of the human being. The sickness which arose as a tragic consequence of the Fall was a change in the direction in the mirroring process of heredity; it changed from being vertical to become horizontal. --Valentin Tomberg

According to Tomberg, the second miracle recorded in the Gospel of John -- which would mirror the Creator's action on the sixth day -- addresses this issue of vertical and horizontal paternity and heredity.

Our souls descend into the stream of time, but our vertical heredity can be overwhelmed by fortuitous horizontal exigencies emanating from parents, culture, genes, bad luck, and other factors. In any event, the sins of the fathers and mothers, both individually and collectively, are visited upon the sons and daughters, in an intergenerational transmission of pathology or health.

Psychoanalysis calls the medium of pathological transmission "internalized objects," while I call them "mind parasites," because the latter has more pizazz.

As the first miracle -- the Wedding at Cana -- resonates with the seventh day of creation, the second miracle -- the healing of the nobleman's son at Capernaum -- resonates with the sixth. The nobleman implores Jesus to heal his son, who is said to be "near death."

John 4:48 betrays some apparent reluctance on Jesus' part, as he says, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe."

A footnote in my Bible says that this reluctance is because "faith based on miraculous works alone is insufficient for salvation; this kind of incomplete [I would say childish] faith quickly turns to scorn should the miracles cease." (Note that the left's current scorn for Obama is just the mirror image of their childish belief in his messianic powers.)

But at the seventh hour, Jesus says to the man, "Go your way; your son lives." Later the nobleman is told by his servants that his son became well at exactly the seventh hour, when Jesus spoke those words.

God created human beings "on the sixth day," when he fashioned our vertical archetype: "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." (The plural subject implies that our archetype is also trinitarian.)

The second miracle of John speaks to the restoration of this divine-human hereditary archetype that was forged on the penultimate day of creation, prior to the Fall, the latter of which doesn't happen until -- well, it doesn't specify, but it would presumably be no earlier than the "eighth day," assuming it didn't occur on the sabbath.

Thus, the hereditary distortion introduced by the Fall is restored "by the father bringing his son into a direct relationship to the divine archetype -- through his [the father's] faith in Jesus Christ, the new Adam" (Tomberg).

In other words, we mistakenly, if understandably, focus on the healing of the son, when the real action takes place in the father, who quite clearly "believed the word that Jesus had spoke to him" prior to the healing.

So the real transformation -- and restoration -- occurs first in the father, but has a vertical effect on the son downstream. After all, Jesus made a pretty bold statement, "Go your way -- your son lives," but the father didn't doubt it. If he had, the entire meaning of the parable would be different.

This brings out a critical point, that there is something central to fathers and to fatherhood in arresting the intergenerational transmission of mind parasites. Frankly, this is common sense, but it is certainly confirmed if we examine the anthropological and sociological evidence.

Put it this way: in the absence of a strong, vertically oriented father figure, a boy is very likely to remain a more or less horizontal animal. He will be male -- a biological entity under the influence of his horizontal genetic and cultural programming -- but not a man -- which is the first vertical category introduced into human culture. Indeed, it is the foundation of human culture.

This is not difficult to understand. As I explained in the Coonifesto, the mother-infant dyad is a biologically natural phenomenon. Not until men entered that closed system could humans escape biology by becoming the psychologically trimorphic family: mother-father-baby. Thus, "father" is the pillar, so to speak, of society, a non-biological category that then alters the other two: mother simultaneously becomes wife, and baby simultaneously has a way to escape engulfment in the Great Mother archetype, but not without difficulty.

However, it is almost impossible to bridge this gap and escape the orbit of the primordial mother (one might say "mother nature") without a vertical father to model the way. Almost all of the really serious problems in society can be traced to the absence of fathers and of men, either literally or figuratively. Our prisons are overcrowded with horizontal males who never became men, although perhaps not to the extent of our professional athletes.

I recall a study from awhile back, documenting how the father's religiosity varies directly with the child's, much more so than the mother's, which has almost no effect. In light of the above, this makes perfect sense. As in the paradoxable of the nobleman's son, somehow the vertical restoration of the father has a direct effect on the child.

This is also relevant to why God is spoken of as "Father," or why the Pope must be a man. To mess around with these divinely ordained archetypes is not just to render them inoperative, but it is to undermine the divine-human economy and to disfigure man as such. To suggest that this is in any way misogynistic is just the usual ovary tower feminist hysteria and naïveté. Woman and girls benefit from proper men every bit as much as boys do.

In fact, the terrestrial father may recede into the background once he has brought his son into a vertical hereditary relationship with the new Adam, which restores fatherhood and sonship in the same way that the first miracle restores marriage, or male and female. In other words, father love can be as destructive as mother love if it is not seen as the transition to a higher love. To the extent that we are good fathers, it is only because we have been deputized by The Father.

Each of us is called upon to make the naturally supernatural transition from horizontal heredity to vertical heredity. Truly, that is when your mission as a father has been accomplished -- when you may "go your way," knowing in faith that "your son lives."

A brief addendum -- last night I watched the film Letters From Iwo Jima, which tells the story of the battle from the Japanese point of view. Although it is supposed to be sympathetic, one thing that stood out for me was the vast differences in their cultural conceptions of fatherhood, leadership, patriotism, and sacrifice. Because they did not share our western values that cherish the individual, they were more like an anthill, in which any particular ant's only allegiance -- and worth -- is to queen and colony.

Just as in the Islamic world, their leaders were incredibly sadistic, and betrayed a murderous attitude toward their worthless "sons," readily sacrificing them on the altar of a wholly terrestrial imperialism. At one point a Japanese officer tells his troops to shoot medics first, since Americans will foolishly waste several lives trying to save him. And when their "honor" was at stake, the father-leaders readily committed suicide in a wholly selfish manner, abandoning their son-troops in the field, where they were expected to fight until death. Thus, one might say that Japanese fathers were willing to fight to the very last son (and which is why the atom bomb saved so many Japanese lives).

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wedded Bliss: The Mirrorcles of Love and Slack

The Gospels may be thought of as "holographic," in the sense that the events described therein are signs, signs are teachings, teachings are events, events are parables, etc. Everything in the Gospels is at once "fact, miracle, symbol, and revelation of the truth" (Tomberg).

There are only seven miracles described in the Gospel of John, beginning with the transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana, and ending with the raising of Lazarus. At the conclusion of John, he says that if every miracle attributable to Christ were to be recorded, "the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."

Therefore, Tomberg suggests that the seven miracles of John are intended to be "archetypal," or to summarize certain categories of the miraculous -- of how humans, unlike any other beings in existence, may surpass themselves in the perpetual ocean of love, wisdom, and action.

Might there also be an implicit parallel between these seven miracles and the seven primordial acts of God described in Genesis 1-2? The Gospel writers were obviously intimately familiar with the Old Testament -- which was still pretty new -- and there are any number of places where they attempt to resonate with it -- for example, in Genesis 1.1 and the prologue of John ("In the beginning...").

Tomberg maintains that there is in fact an inverse relationship between the seven phases of creation in Genesis and the seven miracles of John. Thus, for example, the wedding at Cana somehow mirrors the seventh day of creation. But how?

Tomberg writes that the sabbath is the day on which "created being attains the highest level of inwardness: freedom. The seventh day of creation is the 'day' of the meaning of the world." And since it is only in love that freedom is perfect, ultimately divine-human love "is the foundation, the meaning, and the purpose of the world."

Real love is both the alpha and omega of existence, first God to man, followed by man to God, which completes the OntʘlOgical circle. And what is love of God? Schuon says that it is first "the attachment of the intelligence to the Truth," followed by "attachment of the will to the Good," and only then "attachment of the soul to the peace which is given by Truth and the Good" (emphasis mine).

Thus, slack is a side effect, as it were, of Truth and Virtue. Still, we were made for slack, since it is our proper end.

Love is the highest freedom, according to Tomberg, for "it is the sole element in human existence that cannot and may not be demanded. One can demand effort, veracity, honesty, obedience, the fulfillment of duties, but love may never be demanded. Love is and remains for all time a sanctuary of freedom, inaccessible to all compulsion.

"For this reason, the highest commandment -- 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind... and love your neighbor as yourself' -- is not a command, but a divine-human plea. For love cannot be commanded; it can only be prayed for."

This is also the American secret, for it is the one nation that is founded upon the primacy of spiritual liberty, which is to say, the possibility of genuine vertical (agape) and horizontal (caritas) love. Which is why Americans are patriotic citizens and not matriotic subjects. Half of us, anyway.

If the sabbath represents the conslackration of the free union of God and man, then a sort of cosmic divorce occurred as a consequence of the fall. Man was unfaithful to his vows, so to speak.

Thus, Tomberg writes that the wedding at Cana symbolically speaks to the restoration of this divine-human union, for it seems that marriage often "begins with enthusiasm, with the 'wine' of the honeymoon period, and ends with the 'water' of routine habit" (ibid).

The daily renewal of love is indeed a miracle, even though we rarely think about it in those terms. To put it another way, only love can renew the world, oneself, and one's wedding vows. At the wedding, Jesus not only transforms water into wine, but the second wine is even better than the first.

In other words, not only does the higher love not degenerate, but it is miraculously renewed and increased; as such, this miracle is the "sign" of the healing of marriage -- i.e., "healing in the service of restoring the marriage relationship to correspond to the divine cosmic archetype, which is the seventh day of creation."

Note that John 2:1 says that the wedding took place "on the third day." Why is this seemingly offhand comment inserted into the text? And when they run out of wine, it is specifically Jesus' mother who brings this message to her son. Interestingly, Jesus says something very strange, in that he immediately interprets Mary's news about the wine in symbolic terms, asking her, "what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come."

Thus, the wedding on the third day clearly has resonance with the entire mission of Jesus, in which he will restore the marriage between God and man on "the third day" (which is also the Christian sabbath), by pouring out a kind of infinite, inexhaustible love.

Tomberg notes that there are exactly six "waterpots of stone" at the wedding, apparently referencing the other six days of creation and the other six miracles. The reference to "stone" reminds me of something Schuon wrote, that

"When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth, and every man who still has a sense of the integrally real refuses to admit that this should be reality.... Similarly for the soul: remove faith -- including the element of faith that forms part of gnosis -- and the soul becomes impoverished, chilled, rigid, and embittered, or it falls into a hedonism unworthy of the human state."

Skipping ahead a bit, wine once again comes into play when Jesus' "hour has come." In John 19:28, only after he knows that "all things were accomplished," he says "I thirst." He is given some sour -- which is to say, bad -- wine, which is placed to his mouth. After receiving it, he bows his head and says, "it is finished."

What is finished? One of the soldiers pierces his side, and "blood and water come out." At Cana, water is transformed into good wine. Here, as it were, bad and sour wine -- which is to say, the hateful karma of the world -- is transformed into water and blood. In the Bible -- and in antiquity in general -- "blood" always had spiritual connotations, and was regarded as the vehicle of life, while water carries two distinct meanings.

Back to Genesis 1. On the second day of creation, God separates the upper waters -- the waters above the firmament, or heaven -- from the lower waters. In fact, heaven is placed between the upper and lower waters, as a sort of dividing line. As such -- again, curiously -- heaven is not at the "top" of creation, but is a sort of membrane between upper and lower, or superior and inferior, waters.

But clearly, Jesus seems to be able to mediate between the upper and lower waters -- to bring about their harmonious union, in which the lower is transformed into the higher, and the higher descends into and infuses the lower.

Exacly what is the sacrament of marriage? It is the "inseparable bond between a man and a woman, created by human contract and ratified by divine grace. The nature of the covenant requires that the two participants be one man and one woman" and "that they be free to marry."

Marriage is founded upon consent, which "consists in a human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other. Consent must be a free act of the will of the consenting parties, free of coercion or grave external error. If freedom is lacking, the consent is invalid." Interestingly, "it is the spouses who are understood to confer marriage on each other. The spouses, as ministers of grace, naturally confer upon each other the sacrament of matrimony" (Tomberg).

Now, back to the union of God and man. Let's think about some of the constituent components of marriage: freedom to consent to an inseparable bond, absent any coercion; mutual surrender; male (God) and female (the soul); the parties freely choose to confer marriage upon each other, not one upon the other; and the parties become vehicles of grace for one another, through which the regenerative upper waters flow into the world, transforming water into good wine and sour wine into the upper waters of eternal life and love.

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's a Wonderful Reality Tunnel

The miracles of Jesus Christ reveal the secret of the influence exercised by individuals for the universal, and by the universal for the individual. --Valentin Tomberg

Let's talk about miracles. According to Schuon, the phenomenon of miracles "has in itself nothing mysterious or problematical about it: the so-called natural laws of a lower degree of Existence can always be suspended through the intervention of a higher degree, whence the perfectly logical term 'supernatural.'”

In other words, there is in any phenomenon a combination of both horizontal and vertical causes. Some things are almost all horizontal, while others -- we call them miracles -- are predominantly vertical. Thus, what appears supernatural on the horizontal or terrestrial plane is actually “'natural'” on the universal scale."

Scientists, of course, "confuse the miraculous with the irrational and the arbitrary," but Aristotle was correct in his outline of the four types of causation: material and efficient, which are horizontal; and formal and final, which are vertical. This is why scientists are baffled by anything that clearly manifests final causation, such as free will. Acknowledging final causation would destroy their faith in matter, so they attempt to explain it through material and efficient causes only, which ends in self-refuting absurcularity.

According to Tomberg, the seven miracles recorded in the Gospel of John "represent the healing of the seven principal infirmities of human nature in both individuals and groups." As such, they are "not just miracles," but "signs of the future spiritual and bodily healing processes within the human organism, which is sick as a consequence of the fall of humanity" (emphasis mine).

Please note that healing of any kind has a teleonomic aspect, in the sense that it is an attempt on the part of the organism to "return" to its archetypal form (which is always "above" in space or "ahead" in time).

Three orthoparadoxical statements come immediately to mind: 1) The kingdom of God is within [or among] you, 2) Seek ye first this kingdom, and 3) from the Gospel of Thomas, The Father's kingdom is spread all over the world, but the folks cannot see it. Hold these thoughts for later.

Just as the scientist can deny the miraculous, it is possible for the religionist to deny the mundane, so to speak. And he would be ontologically correct in doing so, although it would make functioning in the world difficult. I mean, someone has to grow the food, make the clothes, and take out the trash.

The point is, since verticality takes priority over horizontality, we could say that there is an "upper vertical" magic and a "lower vertical" magic (one is reminded of the observation that Isaac Newton was not the first scientist but the last magician).

Which is why signs and wonders are happening all the time -- i.e., the Father's kingdom is spread all over the world -- but the interventions are so subtle that we may underlook them, so to speak.

We may also fail to notice them because we can only scamper through one reality tunnel, and cannot see the other timetube that "might have been" in the absence of the vertical influence. It is not possible to conduct a double blind study on reality, which is why faith is unavoidable, whether secular or religious (e.g., Paul Krugman and other leftist economists have the faith that if only Obama had spent a few trillion more, the economy would be in great shape).

Of course, this is the great spiritual lesson of It's a Wonderful Life, which is about a man who spends his life selflessly aligning himself with the good, at great personal cost. However, in his case, he is shown the alternate reality that might have been had he spent his life pursuing only his egoic desires. Thus, he is able to understand that by acting so selflessly, he was actually socking away capital in a moral bank account that is "not of this world."

Another way of saying it is that George is granted the spiritual boon of a clear vision of all the miracles and magic that had occurred in his life as a result of unselfishly aligning himself with the Good.

And realizing this is the greatest miracle of all, for with this realization, the magic that had always been operating in his life bursts upon him like a sudden downpour of grace. What a tragic waste of life to miss the magic that is happening all the time, for this magic is precisely what nourishes the soul and feeds the "second birth." Living for others is a great liberation.

The same lesson is present in Dickens' Christmas Carol, in which Scrooge is first given a vision of the forces that went into exiling him from the greater reality and enclosing him in the cold world of his bitter and envious ego.

Envy and entitlement are literally forms of "reverse magic," in that they will spoil whatever they acquire. Envy may or may not help you get what you think you want, but it will also prevent you from enjoying it once you have it. Conversely, gratitude is both the cause and effect of spiritual awareness and contentment.

This lower vertical magic forms the basis of the leftist agenda, which is why they only become more bitter upon getting what they want. The bitterness of the left has not remitted one iota since prevailing in the 2008 election, because envy is an addictive way of life.

Leftism begins with the childish observation that the world is not perfect -- that it does not conform to their fantasies -- so that even things that work miraculously well must be attacked. Which only results in more problems that the leftist will decry and demand that the state remedy. If this downworld spiral is not arrested soon, it will eventually reach bottom.

In hermetic terms, the subtle rules the dense, and the deeper the effect, the higher the cause. The highest cause being God, aligning ourselves with this cause should, so to speak, lift us out of the closed circle of horizontality and manifest in our own lives in terms of the "subtle ruling the dense."

Now, this is not to say that the dense -- the horizontal -- can ever be wholly eliminated. We are not angels, which is to say, purely vertical beings. But it does mean that we can do our part to reverse the fall and restore the priority of the vertical over the horizontal. Obviously, if everyone did this -- individuals working on behalf of the universal -- we would have "heaven on earth," or a kind of earthly analogue of paradise.

On the other hand, "hell on earth" is the leftist agenda of the individual being forced to work on behalf of the (false) universal which is the state. For the true liberal, the individual is the true universal, not the collective.

Now, the first miracle recorded in Genesis is the archetype of all others, for as our Unknown Friend says, creation ex nihilo -- or out of nothing -- "is the highest possible expression of magic, namely divine and cosmic magic." This is why the primordial act of creation was not so much a bang as a blossoming seed. As he says, this is "not too difficult to imagine, because each little acorn is such a 'constructive bomb' and the oak is only the visible result of the slow 'explosion' -- or blossoming out -- of this 'bomb.'" What is a butterfly but an exploded worm -- or in our case, a buddhafly caterpultered from a christallus cocoon?

The seed has both a husk and kernel. The husk is there to protect the kernel, but it is possible that we can come to identify with the husk, thus defeating its purpose -- and the purpose of our lives -- by arresting the "blossoming explosion" of our true self. This blossoming -- once you begin to experience it -- is the "personal magic" that mirrors the magic of creation itsoph -- of God's unfolding, creative self-revelation. You too are a Big Bang.

The kernel, since it is internally related to the whole, seems miraculously able to draw the people and materials it requires in order to fulfill its mission. Or as a rabbinical expression puts it, "God spends most of his time arranging meetings and marriages."

Better stop now. Late for work....

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